The Vancouver Canucks have had quite the interesting offseason so far, highlighted by the retirement of Roberto Luongo placing more than $3MM of cap recapture penalties on their books. To combat that the team placed will buy out Ryan Spooner to open up some more cap space for potential free agent signings and new contracts for their own RFAs. While Vancouver has been routinely linked to free agent defenseman Tyler Myers, Rick Dhaliwal of Sportsnet reports that the team is currently “still in the mix” for Gustav Nyquist as well.
Nyquist, 29, was acquired by the San Jose Sharks at the deadline and fit in quite well with them, scoring 22 points in 39 games including a solid postseason. Even with the good fit he may end up being too pricey for the team to retain after they made Erik Karlsson the highest-paid defenseman in the league and need to get Timo Meier under a new deal. That opens him up for a bidding war on the open market as one of the top second-tier free agent forwards, something Vancouver is obviously interested in.
Coming off a four-year $19MM deal signed with the Detroit Red Wings in 2015, Nyquist is undoubtedly looking for a raise on the $4.75MM cap hit he carried last season. After recording a career-high 60 points his market won’t be small, and there has been plenty of speculation on where that might lead him. Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet suggested recently that the Columbus Blue Jackets may be a fit, which would make sense given Aaron Portzline of The Athletic’s reporting (subscription required) that they have been focused on free agent forwards.
If Vancouver does get involved with Nyquist, they’re going to have to make sure they don’t overextend themselves while Brock Boeser is still without a contract. The 22-year old forward should be getting a healthy raise on whatever deal he signs, and is much more important to the team’s future than a free agent forward who will be 30 before the season begins.